Interior Designer Course
How to Choose the Right One Near Troy Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of selecting an interior design school near Troy AL now that you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. It's imperative that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the school you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each college you are considering prior to making your final choice it's vital that you perform the appropriate due diligence. But just where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right option simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training choices are available.
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Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new profession in Troy AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Troy AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Troy AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Troy AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Troy AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Troy AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Troy AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Troy AL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Troy home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Troy AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Troy Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Troy Alabama.